Mountain Magic: Spontaneous Fermentations from Peru's Sacred Valley

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Jan 17, 2019.

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  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Admin (16,842) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
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    The chosen tipple in rural Peru isn’t Kellerbier, Světlýý Ležák, or Best Bitter. It’s Chicha de Jora, a staple of the Incas who ruled as far back as the 14th and 15th centuries. And it still thrives in many Andean villages and towns today.

    Read the full article: Mountain Magic: Spontaneous Fermentations from Peru's Sacred Valley
     
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  2. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,430) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    Fascinating stuff, historically speaking, though not quite enough to make me plan a trip.
     
  3. Keene

    Keene Defender (659) Sep 11, 2009 Washington

    FYI, there's a Chicha brewery in Denver now, in case you're headed there in 2019.
     
  4. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,430) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    Thanks, there's an excellent chance I'll be in that area by late Summer.
     
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  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,611) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    From the article:

    “So if Chicha de Jora has been brewed in Peru’s Sacred Valley for centuries, and remains readily available throughout the region, why hasn’t the international beer community caught on? Is it because the brewers aren’t white? Is it because they often speak Quechua? Or is it because they are women?

    It’s hard to speculate, and one possible explanation seems even more obvious. Indeed, the Western bewilderment surrounding Chicha is surely exacerbated by the many uses the word chicha has in the Spanish and Quechuan languages. For example, chicha can refer to something “informal and popular.” There is therefore chicha music, chicha culture, and chicha newspapers.”

    I have one more explanation for Martin Thibault for why a beverage called Chicha may not be popular with non-South American beer consumers: Chicha is a name of a beverage where saliva is the ‘source’ of converting the starches of the grain (e.g., corn) to sugars:

    “Traditional Method: The first step to making traditional chicha is moistening the maize with water, rolling it into a small ball and placing in your mouth. Work the maize thoroughly with the tongue until it is completely saturated with saliva. The natural enzymes (ptyalin) from human saliva work to convert the cornstarch into fermentable sugar.”

    https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/chew-spit-brew-how-to-make-chicha-beer/

    I am pretty sure that Sheldon Cooper would never drink this beverage.

    Cheers!
     
  6. rodbeermunch

    rodbeermunch Poo-Bah (5,793) Sep 30, 2015 Nevada
    Society Trader

    Was thoroughly enjoying the article until the "just asking questions" virtue signaling about racism and sexism were casually tossed in there at the end . . . as if the entire history of civilization, from the initial development of agriculture, to Marco Polo, to hip hop to Levi jeans to fusion tacos, hasn't involved people of all races and cultures . . . ah you know where I'm going with this. Can't believe I bit on a journalism 101 trick.

    The biggest answer why is in the article. There's only one bottled example of this beverage. If your product isn't packaged to be consumed outside the brewery, its tough for it to catch on internationally. . .
     
  7. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,275) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I love these articles - keep them coming BA! I actually clip them and hope that I remember to seek them out if I ever travel in these countries. The only disappointment in this one in particular is that given the complexity in the brewing process - there isn't a way of homebrewing it as there was with "Baltic Brewing, an Estonia Tradition" from October, 2016 - a recipe I've still got on my list of things to do.
     
  8. Keene

    Keene Defender (659) Sep 11, 2009 Washington

    Thanks for chiming in with your vote of approval. It won't be exactly the same, but if you want to make something that's similar, the Homebrewers Association actually has a recipe for chicha.
     
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  9. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,275) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Well done, thanks man! I've now got that one saved and will try it eventually! Cheers!
     
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  10. camigo

    camigo Initiate (15) Apr 16, 2017 Peru

    Well well... after some time being a fan of BA, I can comment on this one... I happen to live in Lima since 2016, just for work. I tried chicha and, unfortunately maybe, like most foreigners living here is a funny beverage good for a try (definitely) but probably not for becoming an ‘advocate’. But my point is that lately, in Peru, there is a strong trend for craft beer, many brands appeared in the market since I came here and some of the IPAs and other ales I tried are really really good. Barbarian 174 is a good one, same as Invictus, Sierra Andina Huaracina, Curaka... I typically have in my fridge some 3-4 brands and keep on trying new ones when going out. Believe me, work well done.

    Cheers!
     
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  11. DosLuces

    DosLuces Initiate (25) Sep 14, 2018 Colorado

    That's us!
     
  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,611) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Two brewers local to me (well Chris is no longer local) helped set up the Sierra Andina brewery: Chris Leonard and Russ Czajka. Chris was formerly the owner of General Lafayette Inn brewpub and Russ worked there as a brewer. Chris is now the brewmaster at Heavy Seas and Russ works at my LHBS (Keystone Homebrew). When I was at Keystone Russ pulled out his phone and showed me photos of Sierra Andina. Brewing at 10,000 ft. elevation has to be 'interesting'.

    Cheers!
     
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  13. Tantonys

    Tantonys Initiate (170) Sep 14, 2016 Maine

    I will definitely try it once they bring it to New England (Maine).


    I can do without the HRC photos thanks.
     
  14. Keene

    Keene Defender (659) Sep 11, 2009 Washington

    Some further reading: https://www.beeradvocate.com/articl...d-peruvian-beer-comes-down-from-the-mountain/
     
  15. frenchman

    frenchman Initiate (94) Jun 25, 2008 Florida

    As a Chemical Engineer, I would love to find out ABV% and IBU numbers. Can any smartie lad write me at loverofcorvette AT YAHO. Merci.
     
  16. Runemagic7

    Runemagic7 Initiate (20) Nov 26, 2018 New Jersey
    Trader

    I thought the same - it can't catch on if it's not widely distributed. Couple that with tastes being varied throughout the world and the 1million visitors a year aren't going to drive that "expansion." That section really screwed up what was a really good article :/
     
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  17. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,051) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    The article calls them "low alcohol" - so I'd assume under 3-4%. It also says they're "unhopped", so "IBUs" ----- -even lower? :grin:
    .
     
  18. grover37

    grover37 Meyvn (1,040) Nov 14, 2007 District of Columbia
    Trader

    It's not a beverage by the same name - it IS the same beverage. This article strategically yet deliberately side-steps this point. I doubt the more commercialized versions do anything remotely related to this traditional method, but the rural chicherias definitely still do. I've tried it myself... and everyone I was travelling with was grossed out, including our expedition guide (who previously asserted repeatedly that different cultures aren't weird/wrong, they're just different..).

    If the beverage is moving away from that in a commercial sense, then be clear and state that. But I think we should be honest about its roots and recognize that this probably plays a huge role in why it's not more widespread. Especially when the alternatives offered are sexism and racism...
     
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  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,611) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    But, but, but...

    You did read the other article where he states:

    "Myth #1
    Chicha is made from chewing corn and spitting it out, right?"

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/3-chicha-de-jora-myths-debunked.604862/

    Apparently you experienced a "myth"?:confused:

    Cheers!
     
  20. grover37

    grover37 Meyvn (1,040) Nov 14, 2007 District of Columbia
    Trader

    That's interesting - it would make more sense if I was taken there by a guide, but I went out of my way to find a red rose and, sure enough, there was a woman chewing corn and making chicha inside. Maybe that's not the norm anymore, but it definitely still exists, at least as of 2011.
     
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